Le Pen Says Voting for Macron Will Let Money Rule France

  • Leftist Melenchon asks front-runner Macron to make a ‘gesture’
  • Both Macron, Le Pen claiming to be candidates of change

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen attacked rival Emmanuel Macron on Monday for his past as a banker and as someone who worked closely with unpopular head of state Francois Hollande during his five years in office.

Front-runner Macron became economic adviser to Hollande when he took office in 2012 and was named economy minister in 2014. Before that Macron worked on mergers and acquisitions at Rothschild & Cie in Paris.

Marine Le Pen in Paris on May 1.

Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

“Don’t extend this contemptible mandate, don’t let them intimidate you,” Le Pen told supporters at a rally in northeast Paris. “On May 7, I ask you to block arrogance, finance and money as king.”

With less than a week to go, Le Pen, 48, and Macron, 39, are hammering home their arguments to voters as the two finalists in France’s tumultuous 2017 election campaign. Both are competing for the mantle of change -- Le Pen as the candidate of a populist party that has never held power nationally and Macron as a pro-European independent who has helped re-make France’s political landscape.

The Socialists and Republicans, the two parties that have governed France since Charles de Gaulle set up its modern institutions, were shut out of the race in the first round of voting on April 23.

Inherited Party

“Marine Le Pen is an inheritor of the French system. She grew up in the system, she inherited a party,” Macron said on France 2 television late Sunday. “I decided to come into political life to change it.”

Though Macron has consistently led in the polls, his margin slipped in some polls late last week as Le Pen pulls out all the stops to secure the first-ever presidential election victory of the far-right party built up by her father. Macron currently has the support of 61 percent of voters, compared with 39 percent for Le Pen, according to Bloomberg’s composite of French polls.

“I’m not arrogant or presumptuous -- no battle is won,” Macron said on France 2 television Sunday.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far-left candidate who took 19.2 percent of the vote in the first round of the election and has so far refused to endorse Macron, said Sunday that the independent should make a “gesture” by dropping his commitment to reform French labor law. “Mr. Macron, you can’t simply rely on voters who believe in your plans,” he said on TF1 TV.

Speaking in Paris after attending a memorial for Brahim Bouarram, who was killed by extreme-right militants in 1995, Macron said he would respond to Melenchon at a rally starting at 5 p.m.

— With assistance by Gregory Viscusi

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